The latest tax-amnesty plan launched in October by Italy aimed at bringing back funds illegally held outside the country, has so far reaped rich dividends - an unprecedented €80 billion has come to the country's coffers, Italy's economy minister says.
Speaking at a news conference, Italy's economy minister Giulio Tremonti said that although he was not sure of the exact figure, but more than €80 billion has been repatriated up to 15 December, when the original terms of the amnesty expired.
With Swiss banks holding a majority of Italian illegal funds, Tremonti said ''I want my country's money back.''. He had recently been at loggerheads with his Swiss counterpart with Swiss banks accusing the Italian government of intimidating their Italian clients.
According to the Bank of Italy estimates, Italians hold approximately €500 billion illegally outside the country.
The three-month amnesty, that expired on 15 December, was extended last week until April 2010, with an increased fee of 7 per cent from the existing 5 per cent due to the rush of applicants trying to avail of the amnesty in the last days.
But even with the tax at 5 per cent, Italian coffers were enriched by €4 billion from the €80 billion repatriated so far - a windfall for the cash-strapped Italian treasury.